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    What is a pugmill?

    March 5th, 2010

    You’ve heard us mention using our pugmill.  You’ve even seen pictures of us using our pugmill. But what exactly is a pugmill?

    Pugmill

    A pugmill is essentially a machine that mixes materials with a liquid.  In pottery, it can be used with clay to achieve the consistency that you are looking for.  It is helpful because it means that leftover clay need not be thrown away, but just stored for later use.  When stored for any period of time, the clay will start to dry out.  Thus, a pugmill is used to mix the dried out clay with water to make the clay soft and workable again. Read the rest of this entry »


    March Featured Items

    March 1st, 2010

    As it is the first of the month, we have added some new featured items to our website!  If you’ve been following us on Facebook or Twitter, you would have seen many of the items on there in the process of being made.  If not, check out the following gallery for before and after photos of some of our March Featured Items.  Not all of the “before” pictures are the same piece as the “after” picture, but we hope it gives you an idea of the process.


    Making of Plates

    February 4th, 2010

    Jean Elton has its own line of plates that are glazed in a wide variety of colors and designs.  But the process from just an idea of a plate to beautiful, hand-painted one is long.  It begins with an idea, then a drawing, then a complicated process that turns a drawing into a three-dimensional physical object.  That object is then used to create plaster molds, which allow us to replicate the plates over and over again (as you can see in the video below).


    Out of the Kiln

    November 20th, 2009

    Yesterday we did a glaze firing in our gas kiln.  Unloading a glaze firing is always a highlight for me.  I love to see how the colors come out and to see all of our hard work pay off in a beautiful finished product.  This firing went up to 2100 degrees Fahrenheit and takes a full 24 hours to reach that and then cool back down.  Because I am too impatient to allow it to cool all the way, we usually open it at 375 degrees.  This is OK to do and does not affect the glazes, but you do have to be careful when unloading at this temperature.  The pieces are very hot!   I wanted to share the experience with you, so below you will see a gallery of me unloading the kiln and the pieces as they come out.
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    Read the rest of this entry »


    A Corporate Gift: Making of the Mug

    November 13th, 2009

    In the following video, you will see Lois Barker starting the process of making a mug.  You will see a piece of clay pressed almost instantly into the mug’s shape.  At the end of the video, you will see a mug that has already had the handle attached and is ready for a bisque firing.  Enjoy!

    If you’re interested in learning more about the RAM press, keep checking back on this blog for a behind-the-scenes look at all the various machines and equipment used at Jean Elton Studio.


    And here they are!

    November 5th, 2009

    Artist Lois adds lines to her butterfly.

    I have had so much fun with the Christmas ornaments, from finding all the fun cookie cutter shapes to adding the color and the glitter at the end!  All the Jean Elton artists have been involved in the painting, so we have a variety of personalities showing through in all the ornaments. Some are very precise and well measured, some are whimsical, and some are very modern.

    In the pictures below you will see the final steps of making the ornaments as well as the finished product. ( Just to warn you, you will be tempted to eat some decorated sugar cookies after viewing!) You will see the painting of each individual ornament, the glaze firing, the spraying (which adds a bit of a sheen), and finally adding just a touch of glitter.

    Thank you for keeping up with us here at Jean Elton! Please check back in a week or so for information on where the Christmas ornaments will be sold.
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    Read the rest of this entry »


    Ornament Update

    October 30th, 2009

    As you may remember, JE artists Kathy and Lois were hard at work on their Christmas ornaments.  They rolled the clay into large slabs, used cookie cutters to create tons of fun shapes, used straws to add holes to each ornament, stamped each shape with the Jean Elton logo, and once they dried, they were each cleaned up around the edges.

    Next, they were fired in the bisque firing.  How did the bisque turn out?  See the pictures after the jump. Read the rest of this entry »


    Christmas Ornaments

    October 14th, 2009

    If you’ve visited almost any retail store this past week, you may have noticed that they are already preparing for Christmas.  Well, if they are, then so can we!  This week, artists Lois and Kathy began creating Jean Elton Christmas ornaments.  Here’s a picture tour of the first part of the process.

    Ornaments 1
    First, the clay is rolled into large slabs.

    Ornaments 2
    Kathy and Lois have decided on a large variety of shapes!
    For that, they use cookie cutters.

    Ornaments 3
    The cookie cutters are placed on the slab of clay.
    They try to fit in as many as possible.

    Read the rest of this entry »


    Behind the Scenes: Inspirations

    October 8th, 2009

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    My mother-in-law is a painter and we have some of her beautiful watercolor paintings around our house.  She painted a lot of flowers, but most of her work was very abstract.  Before I started hand-painting our dishes, I would look at her work and wonder if I could translate some of that beauty onto our pottery.  In the beginning, I would try to draw a perfect flower, but soon I realized that perfection wasn’t as interesting as different shapes and designs.  Instead, I started drawing flowers, not worrying whether or not they were perfect, and then complement them with abstract shapes that I would later paint in all different colors.  That is how the latest Jean Elton designs were born.  I use water color glazes to achieve the bright and varied colors that I saw in my mother-in-law’s paintings.  And then I just draw and see where the shapes and colors take me.

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    Behind the Scenes: Jean Elton Studio

    September 10th, 2009

    photo 10-31-41

    Who would have ever thought that this sleepy, little cape in southern Fairfield County, Connecticut, masked the highly productive Studio that is Jean Elton?

    As you can see, there is a lot going on in this studio.  So keep checking back on this blog for more looks behind the scenes, as well as explanations of the different materials used, methods of creating, and machinery, such as kilns and pug mills.